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REVIEW: Over the edge of sanity, Melbourne Fringe Festival

Macabre, edgy, insane? Defector Art Theatre’s short play bonanza sure tries to be.
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Macabre, edgy, insane? Defector Art Theatre’s short play bonanza sure tries to be.

This Melbourne Fringe Festival contribution includes seven short plays tied together with a witty and down to earth narrative, written and in this case performed by Frank Otis, creator of Defector Art Theatre.

The seven plays explore a range of themes to do with relationships, torture, terrorism, and even non linear time, while asking the audience to only rely on great writing and a showcase of acting to entertain and engage.

All plays were cleverly written using satire and black humour, to juxtapose a general commentary of death and chaos.

Do You Want To Play by Christine Croydon and Alex Broun’s Mozart And The End Of Time were clear stand outs, with the greatest performance of the night delivered in both by a star in the making, Hanna Fox. She is certainly one to watch.

However, Bloodletters by Nathan Curnow was my absolute favourite, with a maniacal, quasi-mad doctor, well played by Adrian Snodgrass, and his ‘rabbit’ played with great measure and physical characterisation by Ross Macpherson. Shame we did not see more of Ross, although he did make his mark again, along side the very brave Mr Otis in the final short of the night Shock Therapy. Nyssa Lock in both Shock Therapy and Anxious But Not Alarmed also impressed with a great satirical performance. She was hilarious and great to watch.

Props, set and costumes were a mixed bag of items including a big plastic knife that accidentally upstaged the action, and a funky, black, blow up chaise lounge that squeaked when the actors sat down. Relying on the action to set the scene, the beautiful space at Cromwell Road Theatre was used well and the overall staging was understated and simple.

The lighting design was a little uninspired, but specifically succeeded in creating the dark mood required for the basement lab of the mad doctor in Bloodletters.

The sound by Charin Blacker had impact and helped create the right mood on stage in each short, along with some fantastic original music by Paul and David Otis. This music added to the macabre and cheeky nature of the show, and helped propel the narrator’s message along between each play.

Overall, Defector Art Theatre have done a good job in producing some fantastic grass roots theatre that explores a darker side of a ‘new’ Australian culture, and the deep recesses of the human mind. A culture of fear and anxiety, death and chaos. Cool.

For a mad night out filled with fun and more shockers than you could poke a stick at, Defector Art Theatre Boxashorts 2 – Edge Of Sanity was all round fringe worthy entertainment. You’d be ‘un-Australian’ to miss it!

Defector Art Theatre Boxashorts 2- Edge Of Sanity
Runs until Saturday 7th Oct, 8pm.
Cromwell Road Theatre, Prahran.
www.melbournefringe.com.au

Kym Davies
About the Author
Kym Davies is a Melbourne based perfomer.
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